Before Patriots coach Bill Belichick canceled the final two days of Organized Team Activities, he used what ended up being the final day not to push the needle forward, but to look backward.
Yes, the coach notorious for always putting last year behind him took his team on a trip to yesteryear.
Via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, Belichick gave his players on Tuesday “a wide-ranging history lesson on the roots of football.” In doing so, Belichick tried to create a throwback environment, with leather helmets dusted off and digital clocks covered up.
Also, the players saw black-and-white video of old-school football, and they ate a lunch that would have resembled the lunch that football players ate in the old days (basically, the kind of crap the rest of us still eat now for lunch, like hamburgers and hot dogs).
“It was a lot of fun. We walked in and you could tell something different was going on than the normal practice day,” an unnamed player told Reiss. (The fact that the player wouldn’t give his name for something that innocuous underscores the reality that, even on a play day, Belichick is still the most secretive coach in all of football.)
Said another unnamed player (again, innocuous): “The thing I’ve learned about Coach Belichick is that he loves history, loves the military, and any time he can incorporate teaching us about that, he loves to do it.”
The move also suggests that Belichick loves where his team currently is, given that three full days of OTAs ultimately were scrapped. Or maybe he simply realized that, without quarterback Tom Brady there, nothing significant was going to be accomplished.